Society for the Teaching of Psychology: Division 2 of the American Psychological Association

Resources for Teaching Online

10 Apr 2020 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

submitted by GSTA Steering Committee

We wanted to start this Corner by acknowledging the incredible work that many instructors have been doing to transition their courses online, support their students and mentees, and take care of themselves and their loved ones in this challenging time. We are also deeply grateful to all the instructors who have generously shared their materials, strategies, and words of encouragement with others. In this spirit, we’ve dedicated the first part of this Corner to sharing some of the strategies and resources that we, as graduate student instructors and teaching assistants, have found especially helpful. We hope you will find these useful too!

Supporting Our Students:

     Communication is essential. Send students emails to keep in touch -- social distancing can be lonely but it doesn’t stop us from establishing a supportive community. Post announcements on the course website / learning platform (e.g., Blackboard) to update and inform students about course expectations and their progress. Remind students that you are still available during office hours (and outside of those hours) to talk about class, as well as other concerns (as you feel appropriate).

     Be flexible with students: this is a tough time for everyone. If you typically enforce a strict policy (e.g., no late work), be more willing to accommodate student requests. Some institutions have decided to provide students and/or course instructors the option to choose whether they would like to change the grading guidelines to Satisfactory/ Unsatisfactory as compared to traditional letter grades. Given the unforeseen circumstances that have likely impacted students’ learning opportunities, advocating for such grading changes for your courses may be appropriate.

     Many students may be unfamiliar with learning online, so be prepared to offer students guidance. While this document is tailored to students at the City University of New York, many of the strategies are useful to students transitioning to distance learning at any university.

     Compassion in the times of uncertainty is a key to help your students transition to online learning. Students may be going through major life changes in terms of their living situation and access to resources. To help address students’ higher levels of loneliness and anxiety, it may be helpful to provide an ungraded discussion board for students to share news, stories, comments and stay connected to you and to other classmates.

Support for Instructors:

     Don’t approach the current mid-semester transition to online courses in the same way that you would approach developing and teaching an online course. Instead, Fox’s blog post, titled, Please do a bad job of putting your courses online, can help you think through how to move your course online in a way that supports your students’ needs and recognizes the difficult circumstances that you and your students are facing.

     Read and share resources with colleagues. Here is an evolving collection of co-authored resources that may help you navigate teaching online with contributions including Jacqueline Wernimont (Dartmouth College, USA), and Cathy N. Davidson (CUNY Graduate Center, USA). You can also join the STP Facebook page to learn about the awesome and creative ways other GTAs and professors are navigating this online teaching world!

     If possible, allow students to complete the course work asynchronously (with synchronous office hours and/or group review sessions). Some students might not be able to attend synchronous classes and need alternative support. If you do decide to include a synchronous component in your course, it can be helpful to establish guidelines and norms for the online learning environment. These might include a conversation about muting microphones when not speaking, operating camera placement, considerations on the setting and whether it is okay for other individuals to be around. Providing support to students and working collaboratively to address students' concerns are important.

     Refer students to appropriate resources for managing difficulties they may experience online. This may include IT support for internet issues, or approaching situations with grace should students experience connection difficulties. It may also require additional efforts and compassion to ensure students have the necessary equipment needed to successfully complete the course.

Most importantly, be kind to yourself, especially if it is your first time teaching online. Remember that your students will remember your kindness and compassion during this time more than anything else!

Upcoming Changes to GSTA Leadership

GSTA Chair, Elizabeth S. Che, will step down June 1, 2020. Liz served as the GSTA Deputy Chair from January 2017-December 2018 and has been Chair since January 2019. We thank Liz for her leadership and many contributions to the success of the GSTA! Current GSTA Deputy Chair, Jessica E. Brodsky, will be taking over as Chair for the remaining term.

Join the GSTA Steering Committee!

We seek one new member to join the GSTA’s six-person Steering Committee starting June 1, 2020 for a six-month term, with the option to extend for another year. The Steering Committee oversees GSTA budget, expectations, and programming. Steering Committee members are expected to meet regularly in person/teleconference/video conference.

If you are interested in joining the GSTA Steering Committee, please complete this form by May 15th, 2020. Please email Jessica Brodsky with any questions.

Other GSTA Activities and Initiatives

For regular updates on GSTA activities, follow us on Twitter (@gradsteachpsych) and Facebook, check out our Blog, or write to us at

You can find out more about us at or at the GSTA resource website, where we periodically post ideas and materials.

GSTA Steering Committee

Elizabeth Che (Chair), The Graduate Center, CUNY

Jessica Brodsky (Associate Chair), The Graduate Center, CUNY

Adam Greene, Southern Illinois University

Amy Maslowski, University of North Dakota

Terrill Taylor, University of North Dakota

Maaly Younis, University of Northern Colorado

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